Date of this Version
Mass-production of songket utilising jacquard looms can swiftly diminish the songket weaving cottage industry. Investing in a jacquard or dobby loom can be expensive and thus may not be affordable for practical use in the cottage songket industry as traditional weavers tend to operate on a small scale basis in villages. This paper highlights the production of contemporary Malaysian handwoven songket which is currently being funded by Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah (YTNZ). The YTNZ is a foundation founded under the royal patronage of her Majesty Tuanku Nur Zahirah, the reigning Queen of Malaysia. YTNZ aims to help under-privileged communities in Malaysia, particularly women, to gain reasonable and sustainable income from heritage-based cottage industries. This paper also discusses the activities that the foundation has facilitated and implemented to the successful commercialization of such innovative songket in new markets in order to ensure future growth and sustainability. Examples of the activities include modernization of processes, design adaptation, product innovation, training, quality enhancement and marketing will be discussed in detail in this paper as well. This contemporary Malaysian handwoven songket project also emphasises teaching and motivating young, inexperienced songket weavers to embrace science and creativity in producing value-added contemporary lightweight handwoven songket.